Ottawa’s second annual Bravo Zulu Dinner will be held on June 16 at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. The dinner raises funds and awareness for Forces@WORK, a program that helps transition ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and veterans in to civilian careers.
Described as “an evening of storytelling and celebrating veterans,” the program will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner. The evening features several guest speakers including Melanie Mitra, CEO of Prospect Human Services; retired Major David Blackburn, who went through the Forces@WORK program, and retired General Walter Natyncyzk. The keynote speaker of the night is Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance.
The night will be emceed by TSN and CTV sportscaster Rod Black, and it is expected that audiences will once again enjoy a performance by Alan Frew, from the Canadian rock band Glass Tiger.
“It’s a great night. It’s a very entertaining night. The money goes towards an extremely effective program. The success rate of the program and satisfaction rate from the participants is about 96 per cent. We also have an extremely high placement rate. For the people that come into the program, I believe our placement rate is pretty close to 100 per cent in civilian careers and most of them have very high levels of satisfaction of where they’ve ended up to comparable rank and standard of living,” said Steve Williams, Director of Marketing and Communications, Prospect.
Funds raised from the evening will go towards expanding the program to serve more locations in Canada.
The inaugural event last year was held as a way to compliment the work Forces@WORK was doing to expand its reach.
“This became an awareness dinner for the Canadian Armed Forces as well as a fundraiser for Forces@WORK to take it to other places besides Alberta,” mentioned Williams.
Close to 250 people attended the dinner last year, and Prospect was able to raise $35,000 for the program.
Forces@WORK is a program of Prospect Human Services, a not-for-profit organization. Prospect helps individuals facing barriers to employment find and keep jobs. The organization’s motto is “Break Barriers. Employ change.” The program promises to continue to support individuals even after their job placement.
“Forces@WORK is the only program of its kind. We directly place people in jobs and also do follow up. So, if at the three month level a person placed in the job calls us and says ‘I need some help with this or that in a civilian environment can I ask some questions,’ we are always available for the candidate and also offer that same kind of support to the employer,” explained Williams.